FUKUOKA – Natsuki Uchiyama, an 18-year-old member of the all-female idol group AKB48 who is known for reciting passages from the Constitution on stage, has now co-written a book about her favorite subject.
“Constitutionalism,” written in collaboration with Shigeru Minamino, an associate professor at the Kyushu University School of Law, attempts to introduce the essence of Japan’s Constitution in a comprehensible manner.
Uchiyama said she shares her enthusiasm in hopes of getting other Japanese teenagers interested in constitutional discourse.
The book was published by PHP Institute, Inc., owned by the Panasonic Group and established by Panasonic’s founder, Konosuke Matsushita, in 1946 to promote “Peace and Happiness through Prosperity.”
“Constitutionalism” is based on an intensive two-day course that the Kyushu University professor gave just for Uchiyama.
They deliberated on the differences between the Constitution and other legal documents, as well as other matters not outlined in the text of the Constitution yet still vital to its proper understanding.
“The minimum voting age for national referendums has been lowered to 18, but the Constitution hasn’t been taught in schools or explained to common citizens,” Minamino said.
“I hope that people who have been indifferent about the Constitution can pick up this book and get a good grounding so they can think about it.”
The 256-page book contains essays by Uchiyama on such topics as “Does the ‘no-dating’ rule for idol group members go against Japan’s Constitution?” and “Formal procedures required in the event of revising the Constitution.”
In other chapters, Uchiyama and Minamino focus on human rights, constitutional theory and constitutional review.
Straight out of today’s headlines, there is a discussion on issues related to reinterpreting the Article 9 of the Constitution to allow Japan to legally exercise the right to collective self-defense.
Uchiyama’s hand-written notes from the course are also included.
Uchiyama’s penchant for all things constitutional entered the spotlight in June of last year when she recited some of the clauses of the Constitution during a concert by AKB48 at the Nippon Budokan arena in central Tokyo.